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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Alonso not enough for Renault revival - Hamilton
  • Rosberg impressed at Monaco rally
  • Jack Brabham honored in Australia
  • Ralf S. eyes 4.2m luxury yacht
  • McLaren drivers to be equal in 2008 - Dennis
  • Dennis rules out tilt at FIA presidency
  • McLaren tests on Spanish island
  • Schu attends GP2 event in Dubai
  • Montoya wins second Daytona crown
  • Rodriguez to unveil 2008 plans soon
  • New Red Bull 'not innovative' - Anderson
  • Title will not thaw 'iceman' Raikkonen

Alonso not enough for Renault revival - Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has echoed predictions that Fernando Alonso's return to Renault in 2008 will not necessarily bring the French squad back into contention for the world championship.

To the German news agency SID, the 23-year-old McLaren driver predicts that his Woking based employer and Ferrari are likely to again set the pace this year.

Hamilton shared a turbulent relationship with double world champion Alonso in 2007.

Asked to outline his main rivals for the forthcoming season, Hamilton said: "The two Ferraris, possibly the BMW-Sauber team.

"Maybe even Renault if they have a good enough car."

He denied that he included Renault simply because Spaniard Alonso is returning to the team that - not factoring in McLaren's exclusion for espionage - finished just fourth in the 2007 constructors' title.

"With their previous drivers, Renault would have learned a lot last year," Hamilton explained, referring to Giancarlo Fisichella and his own new teammate at McLaren, former Renault rookie Heikki Kovalainen.

"They are a great team that have been working hard with their new car.  Whether it will be enough for them, we shall see," Hamilton said.

Rosberg impressed at Monaco rally
(GMM)  Monaco resident Williams driver Nico Rosberg was a fascinated spectator as the Monte Carlo Rally concluded on Sunday in the city's port.

In an interview with 'n-tv', the 22-year-old seemed impressed.

"I would say that world rallying is almost equivalent to formula one," Rosberg said, adding that he was amazed by the rally drivers' speed through his vantage point at Ste Devote, also a formula one corner, despite the fewer safety measures.

Jack Brabham honored in Australia
(GMM)  Australia's triple world champion, Sir Jack Brabham, has been named an officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day honors for services to motor sport.

The 82-year-old was knighted by the Queen in 1979, after being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1966.  In 1966 he was also Australian of the Year.

His latest honor recognizes his services to motor sport as an ambassador, as well as his mentoring of young drivers, pursuit of safety, and support for charities.

"I wasn't expecting any more recognition.  It really is terrific," he said as he rests at his Gold Coast home after returning from a hospital stay with a chest infection.

Ralf S. eyes 4.2m luxury yacht
(GMM)  Former formula one driver Ralf Schumacher is on the verge of buying a 22-metre luxury yacht for 4.2 million euros, according to the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.

The winner of six grands prix, who is likely to race in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz this year, reportedly toured for several hours the 'Bandido 75' at the 'boot Dusseldorf' water show.

McLaren drivers to be equal in 2008 - Dennis
(GMM)  Ron Dennis has confirmed that McLaren's 2008 driver lineup, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, will be treated equally this season.

The British team's principal and chairman made the comments following speculation that Hamilton would be 'number one' at the Mercedes-powered outfit, in the wake of double world champion Fernando Alonso's premature departure.

"We've always treated our drivers equally, and we intend to continue to do so," Dennis told F1's official website.

"This year, both Lewis and Heikki are entirely happy with that policy, and I anticipate no problems from either of them in that regard.  I expect them to be competitive and collaborative in equal measure," he added.

Dennis, however, played down suggestions that Kovalainen has specifically been hired to merely "push" 23-year-old Hamilton, following the British rookie's sensational F1 debut in 2007.

"That isn't the way we look at it," Dennis, who has described 2007 as one of his hardest in formula one, insisted.

"No, Heikki is already integrating himself into our team and our company, and we fully expect him to perform well for us this season," Dennis added.

Dennis rules out tilt at FIA presidency
(GMM)  Ron Dennis has rubbished rumors that he is positioning himself as a potential successor to Max Mosley as president of F1's governing body.

The long time McLaren boss, who is rumored to be nearing the date when he hands over the reigns of the British company to Martin Whitmarsh, was increasingly at loggerheads with Mosley in 2007.

But while playing down the level of animosity between himself and Mosley, who is 67, Dennis (60) ruled out bidding for the FIA presidency in the 2009 elections.

"I've never aspired to it in the past and I don't aspire to it now," he told F1's official website.

"It's the running of a company that motivates me, not the governance of a sport," Dennis added.

McLaren tests on Spanish island
(GMM)  The Mediterranean Sea island of Menorca was back in formula one action at the weekend, as McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen drove the MP4-23 up and down the long runway of the Real Aeroclub de Mahon.

The Spanish press speculates that the Finn's teammate Lewis Hamilton could appear in the 2008-specification car as the aerodynamic test continues on Monday.

Schu attends GP2 event in Dubai
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher was a high profile spectator as the Dubai Autodrome hosted the opening of the GP2 Asia and Speedcar series at the weekend.

The semi-retired seven time world champion was photographed with his wife Corinna and manager Willi Weber, as he attended the event reportedly to support his long time friend Jean Alesi's debut in the Speedcar series.

Schumacher, 38, was also in town for the launch of the Michael Schumacher Business Avenue, a 29 storey commercial and residential building.

Montoya wins second Daytona crown
(GMM)  Juan Pablo Montoya on Sunday secured his second consecutive Daytona 24 hour race victory.

Alongside teammates Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, the former Williams and McLaren racer is one of only three drivers ever to win major events in sports cars, American open wheelers, F1 and NASCAR.

But he declined to analyze which of his achievements he rates highest.

"Maybe one day when I'm retired and I look back at all of my accomplishments and these records, I will think they are something special," said the Colombian, who is 32.

Rodriguez to unveil 2008 plans soon
(GMM)  Roldan Rodriguez says he will finalize his plans for the 2008 season within "one or two weeks".

The Spanish rookie had been in contention for the vacant Force India seat, that ultimately was filled by formula one veteran Giancarlo Fisichella.

"My goal is formula one, but at the moment I do not know for sure what I am going to do," Rodriguez, who is 22, told the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

He said he is studying "several options" and is tipped to remain in the GP2 category.

New Red Bull 'not innovative' - Anderson
(GMM)  Former Jordan and Jaguar designer Gary Anderson has slammed Adrian Newey's new Red Bull single seater for 2008, the RB4.

The Ulsterman observes that the new Renault-powered car is seemingly too similar to its predecessor, the RB3, which finished the 2007 constructors' championship in fifth place.

"The RB3 was on average missing 1.2 seconds per lap," he told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

"In my view, to reduce that kind of gap, you must be innovative," Anderson added.

Title will not thaw 'iceman' Raikkonen
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has rubbished suggestions that, with a world championship under his belt, he can now afford to slow down.

Also denying media gossip that he and his wife Jenni are now ready to have children, the Ferrari driver - nicknamed 'the iceman' - explained that he will pursue victory with the same rigor in 2008.

"I am still exactly the same," Raikkonen, 28, told the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.

"If I race, then I want to be at the front.  It is never fun to be fifth and sixth, and even a third place no longer feels good to me.

"I only want to win," he added.

Raikkonen said that, even as the reigning world champion in 2008, his ultimate target this year is another crown.

"Of course I want more," he said.  "Whoever thinks I am tired and satisfied is wrong.  If we do not collect two championship trophies at the end of the season, we will be disappointed."

Raikkonen also confirmed his reportedly less than burning affection for Michael Schumacher; Ferrari's winner of five consecutive drivers' titles, and still an occasional test driver.

"Michael is history, and I do not think about the past so often," Kimi admitted.

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